I am due to fly tomorrow to Australia through California (from New England). I'm visiting a family member who is a senior and has cancer (and going through chemo). Current advice is to avoid being within 2 ft of anyone showing symptoms. Should I cancel? (lots of personal complications here).
And what are airlines doing if anyone develops a fever and cough mid-flight but might not meet the case definition of travel and contact? On almost all my US-Australia flights in the last 2 years (n = 18) there's been someone coughing nearby...
With all due respect for your situation, this is not the right forum for your question. Most of us are not medically qualified to respond. You should seek the adivce of a doctor. But the bottom line as far as I can see, is that frequent fliers continue to fly and airpoirts and terminal lounges are blissfully quiet. As far as I know from the information distibuted modern airplanes are not a space you are likely to pick up the virus if you practice good hygiene and don't happen to sit next to, in front of or behind somebody who has it.
Yesterday I did a quick brainstorming of the risk area's with a former colleague of mine who works in maintenance for a LH Group airline.
These are the risk area's that we came up with:
-Cabin ventilation. In aircraft cabins, air from the airconditioning packs enters the cabin from vents located close to the ceiling, and is removed from vents located at floor level in the sidepanels.
As such, anyone sitting in the same row and within at least 2 rows in front and behind an infected person is at risk.
The air is circulated at a high rate, but it's still going to pose a risk as you are sharing the same space over a longer duration of several hours.
On a widebody aircraft, this becomes more complex as you can imagine.
If you want to visualise what I mean, here is a link :https://youtu.be/r1zaX2MWl3g
-Cabin crew: cabin crew are walking along the aisle so breath in air from the entire cabin. They collect dirty trays and cups and also socialise with passengers and other crews in the galley. They are most likely to get infected and to pass on an infection.
-Cabin cleaning. Someone posted a video of how seriously Qatar Airways is taking cabin cleaning. However, if you look well, they are using a cabin cleaner that is not a disinfectant but a detergent. So instead of disinfecting the cabin, they might actually be spreading germs all over the place. Not cleaning is better than cleaning the wrong way.
-Catering. An infected individual may be preparing your cold entrees or salads.
-Lavatories. If an infected individual uses a lavatory, people coming after him may get infected.
-Airports. Airports are often not well ventilated large spaces. There you will come in contact with check-in, gate agents, security agents, who will come in close contact with hundreds of people everyday.
Security screening points are used by thousands of people everyday, some where people have to go through barefooted. Trays are reused hundreds of times each day to put personal belongings full of germs, nobody is disinfecting them.
Machines where you slide in your passport or boarding pass.
-Lines and lines. Lines at check-in, lines at security, lines at emigration, lines at the boarding gate, lines in thr boarding bridge, lines when trying to deplane, lines at immigration, lines at customs.
You spend a lot of time with a whole lot of people.
So plenty of opportunities for infection there.